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tv   Tavis Smiley  WETA  October 5, 2012 12:30am-1:00am EDT

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>> roe:ng fundi for charlie rose hasbeenun provided by the coca-up c, somnyup stporting this program since 2002. and american express. additional funding provided by these funders. and by bloomberg, a provider of multimediwspa ne dul tidia news and information services worldwide. be more, pbs.
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tavis: good evening. from los angeles, i am tavis smiley. tonight, a conversation with actor turned travel writer andrew mccarthy. the former star is out with a book detailing his travels around the globe the text is called "the longest way home." in his role at editor at large for national geographic traveler, we are glad you have joined us. >> there is a saying that dr. king had said, there is always the right time to do the right thing. i just try to live my life every day by doing the right thing. we know that we are only about halfway to completely eliminate hunger and we have work to do. walmart committed $2 billion to fighting hunger in the u.s. as we work together, we can
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stamp hunger out. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. tavis: please welcome andrew mccarthy to this program. he is now an award winning travel writer that serves as an editor at large for national geographic travel. the his critically acclaimed book is called "along the way home." nice to have you on this
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program. i assume that you must be tackled at the reception this book is receiving. >> it is also a huge relief because it is a complicated thing. it is a relief when it is received in a nice way so that it can stand and rise and fall on its own as opposed to some weird baggage it gets from being my history. tavis: yeah, yeah. were their doubts or trepidation about putting a buck out where travel is that the epicenter of that? and it is about your life. any fear about being so transparent? gosh no, that is the short answer. the book turned out more personal than i thought it would be when i began, but i did not want to write a travel book perce. travel was the form i have been writing about for the last 10
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years, a platform that i understood. i use travel to seoul dilemmas and answer questions that i have in life. i have questions i needed answered and i traveled. i traveled with this bill lamm of that i had. it was an internal thing that plays out in 3 d, kilimanjaro and the amazon. it had to be personal if it was going to be anything, otherwise it is just random travel. tavis: that the question you were trying to answer was? gosh i had been gauged for a number of years and i found myself unable, at a certain way, to get married. i thought i suffered from that i love you, i have got to go syndrome. the paradox of really wanting to be here and part of the yearning
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to be on my own. reconciling, i think, the need for community, commitment, intimacy, and the need for solitude. it is a problem i have wrestled with and there was no precedent for it. tavis: this conversation will get me in trouble and i was reluctant to even have it with you because it brings up personal drama. >> he realized a lot of people have this issue. this whole notion that we should be together all the time or we are not is crazy. and so i find it a very common ailment and i suppose in days long ago, men would be gone for a long time and come back. my wife -- we have us, and that i can have me.
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we express the same thing from polar opposites. tavis: how would you explain -- i ask this again, i was joking ago about the fact that my personal life came to me when i got a chance to read your book. i had the most difficult time as a single man. i have never found success trying to explain to a girlfriend literally, why is that i need time alone to travel. if i get a couple weeks off from the tv show, you are expected to spend the time with your girlfriend because they don't see you enough as it is. but to explain i have three weeks off, spending a weekend with you and we could have to be bought myself to think and have some solitude. that is the most difficult things for guys to explain to companions, sometimes.
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>> how did i sell that at home? i think my wife has her own vital life, so she has been waiting for me, for us to have a i my own life. i come back a better person for having been off and doing my thing. she wants that person. it is not particularly an issue. what i come back, she says, what are you doing here? men travel for work all the time. i am travelling to write magazine articles. i'm going to exotic places, but i think it is the natural rhythm of her relationship. >> but you were not traveling just for your job. it was laid bare and the book that for you, there is a need to be alone. traveling by yourself, it allows you to find answers and allows
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you to -- again, i am coming back to this because a lot of guys are watching and feel the same way. that private solitude is needed to be with oneself. i would never question a girlfriend doing that, take a couple weeks. >> you have to find another tavis:: -- another woman. tavis: enough said. so how did traveling on your own, getting out bear help you find the answer to your question? >> ha travel for me started as a young actor, i went to many places and i would get in the car and go to a location. and then i took a trip by what
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king along to spain. 500 miles across the north of spain and i read a book about it wants. i said, i am going to do that. i had never backpack or height. but i wanted to do that. i found myself walking across spain and i was miserable. i had one of those moments in where people talk about where i had a breakdown, a tin drum in the middle of a field where i was on my knees sobbing and screaming, this is horrible and not fair. why am i not appreciated. it was a real transformative moment for me. i had a sudden awareness sitting there sobbing that fear which had dominated my life up until that point in the way that i was never aware of existing until
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that moment, it's suddenly was lifted from me. i suddenly had much more space around me and in myself because i was relieved of this fear. i started traveling and i wanted more of that feeling. through traveling, i grew up. i was doing all these movies and so there was this kind of thing that happens. it allows me to separate from that and have my on experience. tavis: what were you afraid of? >> i have had a real struggle level live with ambivalence. i wanted success but i would pull away from that. i wanted to be intimate with you but yet, i have got to go. it was a constant push and pull of the two. i found out that that internal
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struggle is exhausting in you can't really make substantial progress. but i found myself fearful of people, of success, fear becomes a habit. fear masquerades as many things. it masquerades as common sense, exhaustion, anything. i am afraid of flying. it helped me to dissolve that, to a large degree. to where i was not going to be ruled by a and i became very aware of it. that is one of my big sell boxes. america is an amazing country and the think america is a very fearful place and we make many decisions based on fear, particularly political decisions. we make them on fear without proper information. if americans travel, they would see the world differently.
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travel is fatal to bigotry and narrow mindedness. the guy with the towel around his head is not trying to kill them, probably. if we travel, the world is safer. disagree witht you, citing in the statistics of how the overwhelming number of americans do not even of a passport. 70% of us do not of a passport. >> and half of those have used them. tavis: my question for you, why is it that we don't? arrogance, hubris, and narcissism? nationalism? why don't we travel the world more? >> what is arrogant but fear
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turned on its head and bravado? i think it is a fearful thing. we have everything in america, you can go to the grand canyon, why go anywhere else? the reason to travel as because of people and cultures, so i think it is fear and people really railing against me what i say this. it is money. people will defend and to fight until their fear is flawed. i don't think it is money. i show them by spend less money on the road that i do at home. one of the biggest and best sellers right now is called the kindness of strangers, a guy that traveled around without a penny. i think americans stay home. tavis: how did your travel ultimately in form, and pack
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your acting? or your development as an actor? >> helped me as a person. anything that helps develop you can get out of yourself as a person is going to help your acting. it helped me grow up in that way, and it helps me have more compassion and more curiosity. as an actor, you are interested in detail at the behavior of things. i do a lot of directing out, so it is interesting. acting is a veryct sjeubive point of view. as a director, you are interested in telling the whole thing from a bird's eye point of view. the writing is a combination of the two. they all kind of see each other. and it has given me a different
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creative outlet so i am not dependent on that. i feel i have to be creative every day to find myself, to locate myself. it doesn't have to be particularly good, does have to be in a state of creation. acting gives you a chance to do that and riding i can do myself and place myself much easier. tavis: i want to read this passage, but i want to come right back to the point you're making now about this freedom that you have found by not having to be tied. i was talking about how your travel influence your acting at the found this passage fascinating in your book. i've got this fascinating. i have often wondered why certain acting jobs come my way
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when they do. what is the lesson to be learned aside from the obvious challenge of the work. why cast as a little or when i am getting a divorce or why by castanet comedy what i'm going through rough patches? >> i love that. i love that my life constantly reflected my work. i am grateful that i have jobs that are seen within my life. it is not something i totally divorced from the y m. i am grateful i'm a part of my work and it is part of me and influencing things about myself. but that is fascinating to me. i am grateful i don't just have to do sprockets 100 times. i would go insane. i can imagine there is a certain freedom of that, too. it is always at work or at play,
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that is how i'll always live and feel comfortable. tavis: i have always believed in my own life that freedom is really about honda right to choose. so much of what happens is not about your right to choose but being chosen by somebody else, for the role, for the opportunity. how has this freedom to choose, to choose to act, right, travel, to direct. how has that freedom enhanced my work, not yours. >> i resent people having power over me in any regard. it was a chance for me to take myself back. i came to writing fairly late in life.
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so when i found it, it was a big relief in because i am also a fairly solitary person. it was something i could just do. and i didn't need you to bounce it off of. suddenly i wrote it and it exists. it has given me a sense of power in the good way, not power of assertion, but power of self possession. that ultimately makes me more generous and a better version of myself. the way i can open to you. if i need this acting job, a much more closed off to you. acting was the first time i found out where i would connect to something else tried to communicate that connection. that is always what i am sort of laughter. the paradox for me is that i am
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such a loner, and ultimately what i am after is connection with you. and then, of course, i want to flee. it is a constant struggle in life for balance. you go in one direction and i go another, if that makes any sense. tavis: i guess this does not surprise me given that nothing in hollywood surprises me, but it was fascinating about the way you were sold to us. you were part of a brat pack. not as a loner or college every individual which you now confessed to being. do you look back on those years, and what do you make? were we sold a false bill of goods as far as you're concerned? >> it was certainly an odd
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thing. in reality, nothing like that ever existed but it doesn't matter because it became a very is a piece saying he, and it is attached. i could land on mars and it will say andrew brat pack mccarthy land on mars. ballot has become the psychotic and friendly saying that whereas when it started, it was a very pejorative term. the last thing you want as an actor is to be locked had left out anything like that is limiting. i hated it when i was young and i ran from it, but you cannot run something like that. those movies now, i look at them. they pop up in the interviews as pieces and a look at them and myself, and i think, the acting
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is not that great in some of them, but there is a certain look in my eye that is so full that youthful thrill of we are right here, it is so great. i have a certain feeling that is very evident to me and i see it now from this distance. that a whole group of movies and actors, it was interesting because at that time, they were not well-respected films. less than zero did not make any money. it was terribly reviewed at st. almost fire, water views said it is an imitation of the show, a day late and a dollar short. none of these movies were well- regarded films, and now have taken on a certain stature. i think they did because this was the mid '80s when vcr had just sort of come into people's homes and a powerful way.
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people were renting movies, kids, instead of once or twice, you could make it watched 10 times are 15 times. it defined their youth and so i think it was a shock to everybody that they became so iconic. tavis: you say that you see in your eye as a youthful something. the eyes of the window to the soul, so when you look back yourself, were you what happy? you're running from success and intimidated by it, but were happy? >> not at all. was a ias whr success, ied for didn't really know how to handle it and negotiate it. there was no sort of career planning going on with me.
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a movie about a medic in, and now i will do what about drug addict. i was frightened by it, because i did not feel i would be able to -- a lot was being heaped on me that i did not know was appropriate or valid or who i was. it was a peculiar time. but it defined became as a man. lately, when people ask me about it, i thought it would be interesting to have a parallel live to see how different i am because of that. and so it was an interesting thing. that probably helped propel me to travel more. and that has been a good day in. but it also gave me away in the world. i have no idea what i would have
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done if i had not become a successful actor very young. i got kicked out of college, i wasn't interested in school. just some feeling that i wanted to do something. tavis: how was the national geographic were coming? >> great. it is interesting because that magazine, that brand is so respected. it is wonderful for me because when i was starting to do is, you work for national geographic? it was instant respect. the guy from petty and paint -- in pink thinks he's a travel writer? it helped me spread out and do what i wanted to do. but i could tell stories, which is what i brought. tavis: how did you become such a
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good storyteller? >> i have been telling stories my whole life as an actor. i have seen so much bad dialogue, i know good dialogue. i just know, that is how i lived. my whole life has been storytelling in one form or another. my kids can't sit still at the dinner table. tell us the story. i like stories. forever in the world, that is how people communicate. tavis: he is a great storyteller whether he is acting, directing, or writing a book. it is called "along his way home." everybody is talking about it. the acclaim on this and what is beyond critical and you might want to add to your collection,
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written by andrew mccarthy. congratulations on the block. that is our show for tonight. i will see a next time on pbs. until then, keep the faith. >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at tavis: hi, i'm tavis smiley. join me next time for a conversation with rock star -- rap star t.i. that is next time, see you then. >> there is a saying that dr. king had said, there is always the right time to do the right thing. i just try to live my life every day by doing the right thing. we know that we are only about halfway to completely eliminate hunger and we have work to do. walmart committed $2 billion to
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fighting hunger in the u.s. as we work together, we can stamp hunger out. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> be more. >> be more. pbs. pbs.
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